Student drivers learn that keeping a reasonable distance between cars on the road is the key to safe driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) recommends keeping one car length behind a vehicle for every 10 miles per hour traveled. For example, at 50 miles per hour, keep five car lengths away from the vehicle in front of you.
Unfortunately, far too many people drive aggressively, and tailgating is especially dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately one-fourth of all car accidents are rear-end collisions due to tailgating. If a car is too close to the rear of another vehicle, odds are they will not stop in time to avoid a crash. The reaction time of the tailgating driver is seriously compromised. Tailgating car accidents often result in severe injuries.
Tailgating and Aggressive Driving
As noted, tailgating and aggressive driving are strongly linked. Many tailgating incidents begin with a road rage incident, with the aggressive driver using their car as a physical threat to another driver. An American Automobile Association (AAA) study found that 56 percent of all motor vehicle accidents contain an aggressive driving component.
If another driver tailgates you, the Illinois DOT recommends getting into another lane or allowing the aggressive driver to pass your car. Often, just maintaining the speed limit will cause the tailgater to pass. Whatever you do, do not make eye contact or interact with the aggressive driver. That only escalates the risk of a collision. Even if road rage does not occur, any driver who tailgates demonstrates they are rude and impatient.
When a driver tailgates, they also experience significant visibility reduction. Driving too close to another vehicle means the person behind the wheel cannot see potential safety hazards, such as road debris or other obstructions, increasing the likelihood of an accident.
Commercial Vehicles and Tailgating
It is bad enough when private drivers tailgate. Such drivers risk receiving a traffic ticket for this behavior, and may find themselves charged with a crime should an accident occur. However, when commercial drivers are found tailgating, they may lose their commercial driver’s license.
Tailgating and Liability
A driver has a duty to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. However, there are situations in which the driver who rear-ended another vehicle may not be at-fault for the collision. These circumstances may include:
- Sudden reversal of the car in front
- Non-functioning brake lights on the front car
- Failure to execute a turn after making a sudden stop
- Mechanical issues with the front car, but the driver fails to pull over or engage hazard lights
Edwardsville Car Wreck Lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC Help Victims Injured in Tailgating Accidents
If you were injured in an automobile accident, you need the services of the experienced Edwardsville car wreck lawyers at Cates Mahoney, LLC. Our lawyers can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we serve clients throughout Belleville, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Granite City, Edwardsville, Chester, Waterloo, St. Louis, Madison County, St. Clair County, Monroe County, and Randolph County.